Summary: In Paul’s farewell address he spoke of the past, the present and the future. 1- His past work 2- His present commitment 3- His future concern
INTRO.- How do you say “goodbye” when you exit someone’s presence?
- “Gotta go. Bye.”
- “It’s been fun. Take it easy.”
- “Adios Amigo.”
- “After while, crocodile.”
- “Later gator.”
- “So long. Catch you later.”
- “Toodle-oo.” (that’s an old one)
- “Goodbye and God bless you.”
- Perhaps Paul Harvey’s “good day.”
- “Have a good day” or “have a good one” or “have a great day.”
ILL.- Tom Emmerson, a friend, told me his mother always parted by saying, “I love you but Jesus loves you more.” How sweet, loving and true!
In our text, the apostle Paul made a graceful exit by giving a pointed farewell message to the elders at Ephesus.
Acts 20:17-18 “From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: ‘You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia.’”
Down through the years many people have made a farewell address.
ILL.- Feb. 11, 1861 When A. Lincoln left Springfield, IL, to start his inaugural journey to Washington, D.C., he paid an unforgettable tribute to his friends and neighbors in what is known today as the Farewell Address. “My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”
Lincoln’s farewell address was brief (perhaps a minute) but very thoughtful. And spiritual, which is something that is often missing in our farewells today. As Christians we should always part company as best we can and as blessed as we can.
I realize that words can be expressed and not meant, but I personally don’t think we can say enough good words to one another. IF YOU MEAN IT AND IT’S GOOD, SAY IT! EXPRESS IT! Life is too short not to spread good around.
What if you were to give a farewell today, what would you say? What would be your final words? To the church? To your family? To all people? Would you make a graceful exit? It’s very possible that your last words could be your most important and memorable.
PROP.- In Paul’s farewell address he spoke of the past, present and future to make them realize the importance of their faith in Christ.
1- His past work (18-21)
2- His present commitment (22-24)
3- His future concern (28-31)
I. HIS PAST WORK
Acts 20:18-21 “When they arrived, he said to them: "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. “ “You know how I lived.” HE WAS LOOKING BACK.
ILL.- One man said to his friend: "Say, you look depressed. What are you thinking about?" "My future," was the quick answer. "What makes it look so hopeless?" "My past."
Some people have such a bad past that they don’t want to think about their future. Be assured of this: most people have something in their past that they don’t like or are not proud of you. Yes, some worse than others. Now on the other hand, some of you may have a very good past or a better past than your present. Or at least, you think that way.
ILL.- Preacher Warren Weirsbe said, “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ You do not move ahead by constantly looking in a rear view mirror. The past is a rudder to guide you, not an anchor to drag you. We must learn from the past but not live in the past.”